Abstract In acute lung injury (ALI), pressure support ventilation (PSV) may improve oxygenation compared with pressure-controlled ventilation (PCV), and benefit from random variation of pressure support (noisy PSV). We investigated the effects of PCV, PSV, and noisy PSV on gas exchange as well as the distribution of lung aeration and perfusion in 12 pigs with ALI induced by saline lung lavage in supine position. After injury, animals were mechanically ventilated with PCV, PSV, and noisy PSV for 1 h/mode in random sequence. The driving pressure was set to a mean tidal volume of 6 ml/kg and positive end-expiratory pressure to 8 cmH₂O in all modes. Functional variables were measured, and the distribution of lung aeration was determined by static and dynamic computed tomography (CT), whereas the distribution of pulmonary blood flow (PBF) was determined by intravenously administered fluorescent microspheres. PSV and noisy PSV improved oxygenation and reduced venous admixture compared with PCV. Mechanical ventilation with PSV and noisy PSV did not decrease nonaerated areas but led to a redistribution of PBF from dorsal to ventral lung regions and reduced tidal reaeration and hyperinflation compared with PCV. Noisy PSV further improved oxygenation and redistributed PBF from caudal to cranial lung regions compared with conventional PSV. We conclude that assisted ventilation with PSV and noisy PSV improves oxygenation compared with PCV through redistribution of PBF from dependent to nondependent zones without lung recruitment. Random variation of pressure support further redistributes PBF and improves oxygenation compared with conventional PSV.
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